Are there bears in the woods?

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Shredded bark

By Bruce Amundson

Our home is on the lower level of Blue Heron Reserve in Innis Arden. During the first two weeks in October when we were on vacation we returned to find three young pine and fir trees ravished - claw scrapings on trunks and branches, 1/2 to 3/4 inch branches were broken off and branches were shredded. 

Then three days ago there was new evidence of damage to a young fir - branches broken off and shredded.
Shredded branches

For anyone who has hiked the mountains of the Rocky Mountain West, you know it is easy to recognize evidence of bear activity on trees - vertical claw marks on trunks, broken branches, etc. 

What we noted is definite evidence of bear activity, and it is similar to what we experienced about 10 years ago when we also returned from vacation to find a white pine tree that had been damaged by a bear - long claw marks on the trunk, broken branches.

Since there is no other critter in our domain that can do this, we are confident that there is current black bear presence in Shoreline and Innis Arden. We are curious whether anyone else has experienced bear damage, sitings, evidence of scat or tracks, etc. during the past 2-3 weeks.

Branches broken off

I am not posting this to frighten residents. Bears rarely endanger humans. But what is remarkable about our current experience is that two visits within a few weeks suggests that a bear would seem to be “resident” in our local forested areas rather than just passing through our reserve (as happened a few years ago when a bear was tracked for days moving east across north Seattle and Shoreline).

It’s pretty exciting to have these animals in our domain in addition to the wide variety of wildlife that also calls Shoreline home.

If you have noted any evidence of bear activity, we’d appreciate hearing from you.


Anonymous,  November 7, 2023 at 7:04 AM  

Hi, from what I see in these pictures it looks be a deer in rut. Buck deer during the rut will damage trees just like you shown in your pictures.

jno62 November 7, 2023 at 11:33 AM  

Could it be deer damage? Just a thought.

Anonymous,  November 7, 2023 at 1:40 PM  

It would be fun if you put up an outdoor video camera!!

Anonymous,  November 7, 2023 at 1:52 PM  

Not disputing the possibility of bear in the area, I'm sure they are around, but it could also be from a buck rubbing the velvet from it horns.

Anonymous,  November 7, 2023 at 2:43 PM  

Those marking are from deer antlers. They are in the rut in October and mark their territory like that. Bears will leave big claw marks on much bigger trees than those

Anonymous,  November 8, 2023 at 6:25 AM  

Saw a large antlered buck in Richmond Beach. I vote deer.

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